Tag Archives: Doggy Days

Enough About Me, Let’s Talk About My Cats (and Dogs)

I was just thinking that P’s next birthday in January will mark the start of our third year with the cats. Looking back it hardly seems like it has been that long. I have never lived with totally housebound cats without also having dogs in the mix before. I’ve got to say that cats are the way to go. The cats are so much easier to care for compared to dogs (at least my dogs). I think I would like to own a dog again in my life but I would want to have a schedule or situation that allowed the family to spend a lot of time with the dog. I still feel very guilty about the extended periods of time that I spent away from my dogs. When I was cooking and working at Bouley I would be gone from the apartment for 12-14 hours a day. I had a roomate but she wasn’t responsible for their care and attention, I was.  I read this piece in the NY Times the other day and it really got me thinking of my own “bad” dogs. While they were never aggressive like the author’s dog they had extremely bad doggie manners (i.e., jumping up, barking, whining, destructive, general disobedience) and I constantly blamed myself for my failings as a good citizen dog trainer/whisperer. I think that the dogs were happy with our life together but that is probably because they didn’t know any better. I loved them very much and they definitely knew that. Now how ’bout those cats?

bonnie mirror

My daughter’s shot of Bonnie with a mirror

BONNIE – For someone so tiny and obviously physically vulnerable, Bonnie is an extremely independant little cat. She is much less cuddly than Ponyo and rarely seeks us out for laptime. Even when she does so she seems to just want to hang out with you and doesn’t really want you to pet her that much. She is officially P’s cat and I know P wishes that she was a little mushier in temperment but that doesn’t stop P from trying to pick her up all the time. One time I was on my bed watching TV with Bonnie. We were both just chilling. We heard P coming up the stairs and I swear Bonnie let out a tiny yet audible *sigh*.  I am so glad that we stuck it out with her. Mr Awesome loves her but he wanted to return her to the shelter many many times in the beginning. It took her a lot longer to get the hang of not stepping in her own poop/diarreah than was acceptible to us or any one with a working nose or healthy fear of germs would.

ponyo holds on

Ponyo holding on in Mr Awesome’s lap

PONYO – Ponyo is such a funny cat. She has a lot of quirks and personality. She is a Chatty Cathy and punctuates her movement with little chirps and comments. I love that she still hasn’t lost her kitten-ish outlook. She loves to play with us or Bonnie but will also amuse herself for long periods with a cat toy or crumpled up piece of paper. When they both turned a year old I thought that I had to increase the amount of wet food I gave them from the recommended kitten amount to the recommended adult amount. It was essentially double the portions. Ponyo loves to eat and so she of course finished whatever I gave her. I noticed soon after that she became a lot more lethargic and slept a lot more when we were around with the extra food. Since they always have access to dry food if they like I decided to cut the wet food back to the kitten level and Ponyo soon started acting like herself again. They don’t seem to miss the extra food and it also cuts down on the cost. Ponyo is a large, solid cat and I really think the extra food would have done more harm then good. She is also very cuddly and is always looking for laptime especially from Mr Awesome. I love her pretty face, even without a full-sized right eye. We were told at the shelter that she had been previously adopted by someone who had to return her so I feel very fortunate to have her in our family. She is truly unique and plays a mean piano too.

I love all of my girls!!

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My Dog’s Namesake

I named my dog Dylan after a kid at camp. There are two camps in my life. I went to Camp Thoreau from age 9-11 and worked at Camp Lohikan during college. Dylan the boy was at Lohikan. He was a cool kid who was liked by most campers and counselors. I don’t remember him as being particularly athletic but he was definitely tall for his age. He seemed to be perfecting a stoner cool persona as if he had seen Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Spicoli had made a great impression on him. Everyone was in the gymnasium for the camp olympics. There was another camp visiting and playing our kids in volleyball and wrestling. There was going to be a wrestling match between senior boys from our camp and senior boys from the visiting camp. They were only matching participants by age because Dylan’s opponent was a good 6″ shorter than he was. When our kids in the gym saw the boy that Dylan had drawn for the match they went crazy. They started chanting, DyLAN, DyLAN, DyLAN! Dylan in turn looked at the boy and decided that he had already won and raised his arms over his head in victory and enjoyed the confidence of his peers. The other boy saw what was happening and started to cry. It seemed for a minute that he was giving up before he’d even started. The chanting of Dylan’s name only got louder while the counselors from the visiting camp gave their wrestler a pep talk. They were able to get him to go through with it. The smaller boy seemed unsure and scared while Dylan was all smiles and was raring to get started on his cake walk. However, once the match got started the smile quickly left Dylan’s face. The smaller boy was like a shark and was relentless in his determination to take Dylan down. Once our crowd caught on to where things were headed they got very quiet and the kids from the other team started cheering jubilantly. I remember watching Dylan’s wincing red face as he was being expertly pinned to the mat. He did not expect this to happen. There was no escape from a spanking humiliation for one boy and utter triumph for the other.

Dylan the dog came from Philadelphia. I got her when I first moved there and was working as a telemarketer for a Dating Service called Great Expectations. She was a German Shepherd Husky mix and looked very tough on the outside. Once on the street a little boy looked at her and said, “Mommy that dog looks like a WOLF”. She was really just a marshmallow inside. She was extremely afraid of thunderstorms and would hide in the bathtub shaking, panting and whimpering until the storm had completely passed. I didn’t know all this about her when I gave her the name though. When she was a puppy she was a one dog wrecking crew and tried to eat or chew on everything in her wake. Once she destroyed a potted plant in the apartment. She broke the pot and scattered the dirt all over the floor. There were paw prints literally 2′ up on the walls. I imagined her running circles on the walls of the room a la Fred Astaire in Royal Wedding.

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Tannenbaum 2007

Here is the skirt under the tree. We got our tree at the local firehouse. I think that it is perfect! I’m sure that it will start jettisoning needles any second now but I don’t care. I love the smell and somehow it wouldn’t be Christmas without one. My daughter really enjoyed taking all the ornaments out of the boxes and their tissue paper wrappers. It was definitely bittersweet. I got pretty emotional. All the ornaments are worthless toys and glitter really. What makes them special are the memories that you attach to each one. Decorating our tree brought me back to my mother’s trees over the years. Her ornaments and our memories of family times together back when there was still so much promise and a chance to find your place in life. We certainly had our share of unhappy family times and unhappy holiday times but at least back then my brother and I could look at each other and think, someday we’re getting out of here. How can it be that I’m the only one who made it?

Sorry about that. I wanted this to be a happy post. This story will cheer us up. My mom often finished her tree with icicles. You know those little thin strips of mylar that you kind of throw at the tree? It adds a lot of glitter to the whole thing. When I grew up and starting getting my own tree I used to use icicles too until I got my dogs. They were constantly stealing it off the tree and eating it. I’m sure that it wasn’t good for them but it wouldn’t have bothered me so much except that it came out the other end intact. Our walks would often involve me having to pull long crap covered icicles out of their butts. Thus ended the era of the icicle and I’ve never gone back.

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A Doggy Story

This is one of P’s favorite stories that I tell. I’m not sure why I’m telling it to you. I guess I just want to record it. Warning: this story contains some yucky description of disgusting doggy behavior.

I used to live in Park Slope Brooklyn. I moved from down on 4th Avenue up to 8th Avenue one block from Prospect Park. It was after dark on that first night in my new place and I took the dogs for a walk and we went into the park. We went to the park daily when we lived down on 4th Ave and once we got inside the park I let them off leash like I normally did. For some reason this time they immediately jumped into some bushes. A woman who was walking her dog nearby saw them running in there and called out to me that I should get them out of there because some of the local homeless people used it as a bathroom. I ran in after my dogs and as soon as my head got inside the bushes I smelled trouble. The next thing I see is my white dog Danny rolling in what I’m assuming is excrement (and yup, I was right). He is diving on the ground and smearing it all over his neck. Then I turn and see my other dog Dylan trying to scarf up as much of the poop as possible before I pull her away. Now, I ask you dear reader – which is worse? Having a dog that has rolled in poop or a dog that has just eaten poop? I don’t know, it’s a toss up. Anyhoo, I start yelling my head off and get them back both on the leash, I’m not sure how because I can’t bear to touch either of them. I drag them home, pull them into my brand new, white postage stamp sized bathroom and start trying to bathe Danny. He smells so terrible and I have to struggle to keep him from alternately jumping out of the tub and/or shaking and spraying his wet, poop covered hair all over the walls. Dylan is whining and panting next to us because she thinks that she is going to be next and her breath is just terrible. I finally get him cleaned up but somehow it seems like I haven’t totally gotten the smell out. I think I dried him off with paper towels because I couldn’t bear to use any of mine and I hadn’t unpacked the doggie towels yet. Finally I’m done with Danny and we all go back into my bedroom and I sit on my bed – which is about the only thing that is set up in the whole place – my bed with my new rug under it that a friend gave me. I’m finally relaxing and the dogs are there looking at me because they’re nervous about the new apartment and they’re watching my every move and follow me everywhere. I think I might have taken a couple of deep breaths before I start hearing a funny sound and then realize that it is Dylan and she’s retching. Then before I know it, she is puking up her recent “meal” all over my brand new rug in my brand new apartment on my very first night in it. I don’t remember what I did next. I’m sure there was some shrieking involved. Ah, the pleasures of dog ownership. I remember them well. I do miss my dogs sometimes and then other times I remember . . .